TopCoder Problem Statement - NumberGuesser |

Single Round Match 168 Round 1 - Division I, Level One |

Single Round Match 168 Round 1 - Division II, Level Two |

Determine the starting number given the output of a specified algorithm.

1 public class NumberGuesser { 2 3 public int guess(String leftOver) { 4 5 /* 6 * Loop through all positions in leftOver, inserting the digits 7 * 1..9 at each position. 8 */ 9 for (int position = 0; position <= leftOver.length(); position++) { 10 for (int digitToInsert = 1; digitToInsert < 10; digitToInsert++) { 11 12 // Add digit back into leftOver 13 String beforeRemovingDigit = 14 leftOver.substring(0, position) + 15 digitToInsert + 16 leftOver.substring(position, leftOver.length()); 17 18 // Larger number - Smaller number = z 19 int z = Integer.parseInt(beforeRemovingDigit); 20 21 /* 22 * Call larger number y 23 * Call smaller number x 24 * y - x = z or y = x + z 25 */ 26 for (int x = 1; x < 5000; x++) { 27 int y = x + z; 28 29 // See if x and y have the same set of digits 30 Integer i = missingDigit(x, y); 31 32 if (missingDigit(x,y) == null) { 33 return missingDigit(z, Integer.parseInt(leftOver)); 34 } 35 } 36 } 37 } 38 39 return -1; 40 } 41 42 /* 43 * Return the first digit found that is in x, but not in y; 44 * or in y but not in x. 45 * Returns null if all the digits in x are in y and vice-versa. 46 * Does not consider the digit 0. 47 */ 48 private Integer missingDigit(int x, int y) { 49 50 51 int[] digits = new int[10]; 52 53 // Add the digits found in x 54 while (x > 0) { 55 int i = x % 10; // Get the last digit 56 digits[i]++; 57 x /= 10; 58 } 59 60 // Subtract the digits found in y 61 while (y > 0) { 62 int i = y % 10; 63 digits[i]--; 64 y /= 10; 65 } 66 67 // Skip over the digit 0 68 for (int i = 1; i < 10; i++) { 69 if (digits[i] != 0) return i; 70 } 71 72 // Numbers have the same combination of digits. 73 return null; 74 75 } 76 77 }

I found this 500 point question more challenging than the 1100 point problem. Apparently, if you know the "trick" to it (see here), you can solve this in just a few lines. This solution works through the problem for those that don't know the trick.

First, note that the algorithm calls for two numbers x and y, such that y - x = z. Or, more conveniently y = x + z. The loops on lines 9 and 10 will generate every possible value for z by inserting the digits 1 through 9 into each position of the given leftOver string. Then we loop through all possible values of x. With candidates for x and z, we also have a candidate for y.

Now, if x and y are composed of the same digits, we get our answer. z must have been the number before the digit was removed. So, we just need to determine what digit is in z that is not in leftOver.

The method missingDigit() is used for both of these cases. If x and y are composed of the same digits, it will return null, otherwise it will return a digit that exists in one number but not the other. It works by creating an array to hold a count of each digit encountered. It loops through the first number and increments the count for each digit. Then it loops through the second number, and decrements the count for each digit there. If the numbers use the same set of digits, then everything should end up back at zero. Otherwise, return the digit with the first non-zero tally.

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